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my thoughts

I can't believe that what I feel is really happening to me
Make it hurt
And point the finger at my insecurities
Well I guess I just don't understand about those complexities in your mind
And I guess I just don't understand why this world seems so unkind
Maybe just once I get what's coming to me.

**"Maybe Just Once" - Nine Inch Nails**

Friday, November 17, 2006

JeN's review of the movie "Shortbus".

I've never seen director John Cameron Mitchell's first directed film, "Hedwig & the Angry Inch", but I am definitely thinking about watching it now. Independent films have never been my favourite genre. Often, I find that their audiences attract the type of snooty 'holier than thou' crowd I prefer to steer clear from. I decided to see this film after one of my good friends messaged me to tell me how amazing it was. I checked to see if it would be screening anywhere around here and, behold, it was playing for one week only so I had to go check it out.

As if this isn't obvious enough: I thought the movie was pretty damn good. It begins with an extreme close-up of the texture of the Statue of Liberty followed by this arty miniature version of New York and I wasn't sure if it was an actual sculpture or done by CG. Either way, it was impressive. Spaces between some scenes of the movie were interspersed by a bird's eye view of the camera going from one point of action to another through the mini-NY.

If visual art bores you, the next few minutes are bound to catch your attention. A man intimately filming himself in the bathtub followed by an attempt at auto-fellatio, a heterosexual couple trying to win the award for most positions performed during a single sex session, and a Dominatrix taking her irritation out on an annoying client. The movie may feature actors but this is real sex. Those thinking that the movie may be porn are far from correct. This movie does contains sex but it does not revolve around it; instead the film works the physical act of penetration into the plotline so well that it meshes seamlessly with everything else. Mitchell uses plenty of close-ups, which catch his characters in their natural and therefore their most beautiful state. There's no airbrushing involved in this movie.

Couples therapist, Sofia, upon taking on her new clients, Jamie & James, who want to explore an open relationship, admits that she has self-diagnosed herself as "pre-orgasmic" which she explains means she's never had an orgasm. It appears to be taking a toll on her, both in her job and in her marriage. James, after being with Jamie for five years, is hellbent on the possibility of another lover since he is guarding a deep secret from his current one. Severin, both a Dominatrix and a photographer, is suffering because the only time she is able to allow herself to show emotion with someone is when she takes her anger out on a client. In an attempt to help Sofia, "the Jamies" invite her to a Shortbus party. In many schools, the smaller schoolbus, known as the shortbus, is the one ridden by students who are abnormal in some way, whether they are mentally handicapped, physically handicapped, or are gifted. A shortbus party celebrates differences and is a way to indulge one's senses to the utmost. The party hosts rooms for the eyes, showcasing independently made films, the skin, featuring a room for those interested in an orgy, the ears, with a band performing original music, and the mind, with quiet rooms containing people who just want to talk.

"New York is where everyone comes to get fucked," said the film's ex-mayor of the city. It is up to the audience to decide exactly what he intended when he said that. I took Mitchell's film to blur the line between human beings' need to be intimate emotionally and the need to be intimate physically. Do we talk in order to get sex or do we have sex in order to talk? Are we our most vulnerable in the bedroom or is it when we open our emotions? Another issue brought up, I think, by real-life party host, Justin Bond, was another push at the boundaries between the physical and the emotional. Is it harder to have your body be fucked or to have your mind be fucked?

Each of the main characters is looking for the one thing lacking in their lives, be it something physical or something emotional. Through intense challenges of their selves, they begin to take steps toward achieving their goals. Though I wouldn't call this film a comedy, it does have its funny moments, like when the gay threesome lightens the mood by singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" during sex. I found it strangely amusing that so many states used to (some still do?) find sodomy to be illegal and yet, here these men are, law-breakers in many states, singing the American national anthem which is supposed to celebrate the country.

Though a little farfetched at times, I found the movie to be strangely real. The lines didn't feel scripted and, even though I recognized three of the actors (Sook-Yin Lee, Bitch, Daniela Sea), I felt that the characters could actually be real people. I'm not entirely sure how all of the characters turned out in the end. The movie wasn't completely clear on that.

"Shortbus" is a refreshing way to penetrate human beings, both emotionally and physically. According to one of the film's characters, there is a motherboard connecting us all and we've just got to find the right circutry to make sparks fly. I would recommend this movie to anyone who considers themselves to be open-minded and who is in the mood to see something a little different. It's not action-packed, it's not romance-filled and it's not rolling on the floor funny. It's just different. The "I'm Canadian" excuse for not understanding Americans was used twice! Let's all hop on the shortbus and open ourselves and our differences up to a bit of penetration. With a little poking, we might all learn something new.

I went to see "Shortbus" with Shay, who gave her two cents HERE.

some mean person took the Angry Johnny video off YouTube. now I'm stuck with this...
Music Video Codes by VideoCure

Angry Johnny - Poe

Johnny, Angry Johnny
This is Jezebel in Hell
I wanna kill you
I wanna blow you...

I can do it you gently
I can do it with an animal's grace
I can do it with precision
I can do it with gourmet taste

But either way
Either (way), either way
I wanna kill you
I wanna blow you...

I can do it to your mind
I can do it to your face
I can do it with integrity
I can do it with disgrace


Johnny, Angry Johnny
This is Jezebel in Hell
Johnny, Angry Johnny
This is Jezebel in Hell

I can do it in a church
I can do it any time or place
I can do it like an angel
To quiet down your rage


I can do it in the water
I can do on dry land
I can do it with instruments
I can do it with my own bare hands

But either way
Either way, you know where it stands
I wanna kill you
I wanna blow you...

Johnny, Angry Johnny
This is Jezebel in Hell
Johnny, oh my Johnny

Where did your pleasure go
When the pain came through you
Where did your happiness go
This force is running you around now
Getting you down now
Where is your pleasure now Johnny
Where has your pleasure gone now

Johnny, Angry Johnny...

*stupid link of the day* Interview With a Rabbit or Two: maybe you have to be the slave to an urban rabbit to find this amusing but I was giggling my head off while reading this. So much of it reminds me of Pfeffer!
JeN's mind ejaculated @ 2:04 a.m. | | permalink
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